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District lays off more than 3,700 employees

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 7, 2013 09:38 AM

[Updated, 7:03 p.m.]

Calling the development "nothing less than catastrophic," Superintendent William Hite announced Friday that layoff notices have been sent to 3,783 of the 19,530 District employees, from teachers to food service workers, from counselors to maintenance staff, from community liaisons to lab assistants.

The layoffs will take effect July 1.

"Every aspect of the District will feel the impact – schools, regional offices and central office – along with employees ranging from senior administrators to support staff," said Hite.

He said the workers "are more than numbers: These are people – professionals – who play important roles in the lives of thousands of students throughout our city. They often do jobs beyond their titles and employee classifications. They are teachers, counselors, friends, protectors, and mentors to the children of Philadelphia.

"Without them, our schools will be just empty shells."

The number does not include central office staff, who have yet to get their notices. Hite could not give a figure for that, but the plan is to reduce active positions by 30 percent. The central office now has about 700 workers, but there are also many vacancies.

The 3,783 figure includes 676 teachers, 307 secretaries, 283 counselors, 127 assistant principals, 1,202 noontime aides, and 769 supportive services assistants, in addition to smaller numbers of workers in other categories.  

At an afternoon press conference, Hite was flanked by four of the District's top principals, who described how the layoffs would impact their schools.

"These losses are serious and frightening to me," said Lisa Kaplan, principal of Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia, which has students from 29 cultures who speak 14 languages. "The education of our children in a happy, safe environment is at risk."

She worked hard to bring many programs into the school, and all of them are at risk, including a rock band that was invited to play at the American Federation of Teachers annual convention.

"They named the band Home, because that's where they feel safe," she said.

Dan Lazar, principal of Greenfield Elementary School, which is a block away from this week's building collapse on Market Street, said that the disaster just reinforced how important it is to have adults in the building who can respond to crises.

"Immediately after it occurred, our phones began to ring and didn't stop all day," he said. "What I would have done without a secretary and an SSA, I don't know." Supportive service assistants are part-time workers who help out in classrooms and wherever else they are needed.

Linda Carroll said that at her school, Northeast High, which has more than 3,000 students, counselors helped her students win millions in scholarships and her staff already works above and beyond.

"It's insulting we have to do this," she said.

And Otis Hackney, principal of South Philadelphia High School, noted that his school has come off the "persistently dangerous" list due to the hard work of teachers and support staff over the last several years. He is expecting to nearly double the number of students in his school as some 500 students from nearby Bok Technical School, scheduled to close, are expected to enroll at Southern. "And that number doesn't include 9th graders," he said.

Hite noted that this is just the latest in drastic steps that the District has taken over the last 18 months to cope with a dire financial picture. The District has no ability to raise its own revenue, and its latest round of money troubles started with the disappearance of federal stimulus money in 2011 and the General Assembly's decision not to make up the difference with state funds.

The District has already borrowed $300 million to balance its budget this year and will have closed 30 schools by September. In addition, it has frozen charter expansion. This year's budget, he said, already lacks essential programs, positions, and resources. Hite said that he and his senior staff have taken pay cuts. Nurses have been cut back.

"The School District of Philadelphia must live within its means," Hite said. "We can only spend the revenues that are given to us by the city and the state. This is the harsh reality of how that looks."

He has been lobbying regularly in Harrisburg and will continue to do so, he said. Leaders of charter schools are joining him because their revenue is dependent on the District's level of spending.

"I am doing everything in my power to prevent this budget from becoming a reality on July 1. I came to Philadelphia to preserve students’ rights to an education that prepares them for the world beyond our doors. Our current circumstances are deeply disheartening." 

Hite sent an email to employees last night saying that, due to "catastrophic financial challenges," the District will be mailing "layoff notifications to many of our colleagues." The actual notices were mailed today.

Robert McGrogan, head of Philadelphia's principals' union, Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, said that all principals attended emergency meetings Friday with District personnel to receive instructions on what to tell employees who receive the notices regarding health coverage and other issues.

Despite the intensive lobbying, District officials still have no commitments for money to close a $304 million budget gap. It is asking for $120 million from the state, $60 million from the city, and $133 million in union concessions.

The School Reform Commission adopted a "doomsday" budget last week that provides a principal and a core group of classroom teachers for each school and nothing else. It has already said it will lay off all counselors, librarians, art and music teachers, secretaries, and support personnel, including noontime aides, in the schools.

Some layoffs can be rescinded if more money comes through.

If positions are restored, seniority provisions in the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers contract will trigger a massive reassignment of teachers, which can impact school stability -- an important factor in assuring student achievement.

The District's collective bargaining agreements require a set period of notice before layoffs can take effect. The new fiscal year begins July 1, and the city and the state are not required to complete their budgets until the end of June.

Hite said that if all the layoffs in a category are restored, then it is easier to prevent a shifting of positions as teachers claim different jobs based on their seniority. The teacher layoffs, he said, include teachers in virtually all categories and were determined based on seniority. 

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, met with District officials to hear the details just before the announcement. Earlier in the afternoon, he met with some reporters

"Frankly, it’s just wrong that this is happening," Jordan said in a phone interview before the announcement. "If these cuts are allowed to stay in place, we will open something called a school in September, but it's wrong and bad for kids."

He noted that this isn't the only mass layoff in the District's history. Something similar happened two years ago with the initial disappearance of federal stimulus money.

Jordan said he was willing to make accommodations with the District to avoid too much staff instability as teachers exercise seniority rights if and when positions are restored. However, he said, that is harder to do if the restorations occur piecemeal instead of all at once.

"If they bring back 10 at a time or three at a time, it gets more difficult to navigate that," Jordan said. PFT members do have the right to say "now that I'm back, I prefer to leave my school and go to one five minutes from my home."

Before the SRC's budget adoption, Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky suggested to his colleagues that they could adopt a budget that assumed some additional funds in order to avoid this scenario, but he was rebuffed. Dworetzky was the sole vote against the budget. 

Mayor Nutter has proposed a package of taxes on liquor and cigarettes, as well as more aggressive tax collection, that would raise an additional $95 million for the schools. But he would need enabling legislation from Harrisburg for most of it.

Though Nutter and Hite have been lobbying hard, including a visit to Harrisburg on Tuesday to press their case, the Republican governor and legislature have been pessimistic about the chances of the District getting the $120 million it is asking for.

After the press conference, Hite said that he feels that the governor and legislature are responsive to "the skin we've put in the game," referring to all the actions the District's been taking to make ends meet.

Negotiations are underway with the PFT, but its contract does not expire until the end of August. The District is asking for a restructuring of compensation, as well as a 10 percent pay cut. 

Donna Cooper, executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, described the development as “a devastating day for our city’s children. The doomsday cuts will turn our schools into glorified daycare centers, depriving students of the proper education they deserve.”      

Librarian Carol Heinsdorf, who was a finalist for the Teacher of the Year award this year and has nearly 30 years with the District in six different schools, called it "a sad day for the District."

"When school libraries are deemed unimportant by the people in power and authority, our democracy is threatened," said Heinsdorf, who has often spoken before the SRC.

Counselors said that not only do they help students choose and apply to college, but deal with myriad problems.

"It's scary, what's going to happen," said Christine Donnelly, a counselor at the Academy at Palumbo. "We deal with kids with suicidal ideation. ... The teachers are great, but they are not trained. When they think a student is being abused, they call the counselor."

"I don't think they [the SRC] think we're expendable, but I think they could have done more to keep us," added Donnelly. 

Teachers and parents leaving Mifflin Elementary School in East Falls on Friday were worried.

"It's going to hurt the kids," said parent and volunteer Maryann Salmon. She also noted that there isn't enough supervision in the halls as is and worries that it will be even worse after these layoffs.  

Grandparent Earnest Walker agreed. "I think it's a shame, a disgrace.  Everything seems to have a priority, except the children," he said.

Teacher Gina Spinelli said that "they're ruining the education system. Yes, staff are losing their jobs, but kids are really the ones that are being hurt."

Her colleague, Evan Kallish, was more optimistic. He said that the budget was not the "final word" and noted that the schools are still "waiting for the community, city of Philadelphia to come up with more money" and that "hopefully with a new budget, there will be a clearer picture."


Additional reporting by Sonia Giebel.


The full text of Hite's message to employees follows:

Dear Colleagues,

As you are aware, our District is facing catastrophic financial challenges. Last week, I presented an operating budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that excludes many full-time positions and programs amid city and state revenue shortfalls and uncertainty over personnel savings. I believe these positions and programs are essential to students and families in every school throughout the District. However, due to our legal and financial mandate to submit a budget by May 31, the School Reform Commission approved the spending plan based on known revenue. The District is aggressively seeking funding from the City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and currently negotiating with our labor unions to reach savings in personnel costs. The District can amend its budget as more funding becomes available; the City and Commonwealth must approve their budgets by June 30. Unfortunately, we do not have any commitments from City, Commonwealth or our labor partners, and we must prepare our District and schools for operating with the funds that we know we have. This will require massive, draconian reductions in programs and staff. This means that over the coming days we will be sending layoff notifications to many of our colleagues. We regret having to take these steps and will continue advocating for the funding that gives our students the education they deserve. On a personal note, I am profoundly upset about having to take these actions. I remain hopeful and will continue working tirelessly so that we will be able to restore many of the positions, programs and services that are crucial to maintaining nurturing and effective learning environments. I believe that our students have a right to adequate education funding and that our colleagues play an essential part in our schools' and District's success. Please contact your supervisor with any questions or concerns about the next steps in this process. I greatly appreciate your support and continued commitment to our students, especially in these very difficult days ahead."


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Comments (549)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 10:21 am
Any word on how many total? Or how many to each category of employees, teachers, NTA, SSA, secretaries.
Submitted by Tymir (not verified) on June 7, 2013 11:10 am
I'm curious about that as well. Thank goodness we have such a strong union leader in Jerry Jordan! Meanwhile, I recall Dr. Hite saying there would be no layoffs. I was not stupid enough to believe to believe him.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:11 pm
Yes, you are right. He told us that. That's one of the millions of reasons, Hite has NO credibility at all. Even his biggest apologists need to revisit ALL the LIES he has told us since he slithered into Phila. Remember,YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO NOT WHAT YOU SAY. Hite is, well, you know what he is.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 3:19 am
A teacher gets to choose whether he or she wants to teach at a school? Are you serious? In the real world, you get a job and work where you are needed based upon the match of your skill set and what the clients(students) need. People have hour long commutes in other jobs and are happy just to be employed in this economy. These are the ridiculous work rules that cost money, stifle the system, and make PFT look like slugs.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 8:04 am
A teacher does work where they are needed. With many openings in a given certification area, the choice is which of the many needs that exist you would like to fill. You sound like a bigot with a keyboard and no common sense.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 8:06 am
A teacher does work where they are needed. With many openings in a given certification area, the choice is which of the many needs that exist you would like to fill. You sound like a bigot with a keyboard and no common sense.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:51 am
Of course as long as you can stick it to the teachers who cares if they have to eat the costs of commuting themselves. Gas price be damned! "Happy just to be employed"? You ought to be happy that Philly teachers are there to take over classrooms this district has had trouble filling year after year. What are teachers suppose to do every time they are reassigned to a new school? Sell their houses and move again? I spend one day a week just commuting and this is to a school that is one of the closest to my home. Do you really expect me to tack one a couple hours more each day so I can commute to a school across the city? Add to that the extra hour Hite wants to tack on and teachers will be getting out just in time for rush hour. Makes sense to me! What exactly are the "ridiculous work rules" you are referring to? Seniority? Why shouldn't teachers who have stuck it out over the years be rewarded with some choice? You certainly don't pay them that much considering what teachers earn in the rest of this state. Slug yourself, clown.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on June 8, 2013 7:22 pm
Hite, Nutter Pedro and of course, Corbett couldn't possibly care less about you or the kids you teach in a traditional Public School. They're working hard to eliminate you altogether and place the "easy" kids into charters while sending the rest to prison in the not too distant future. I am not exaggerating. So what do we do to combat it?? Jordan behaves as though he's "adapting" to this crap as another poster stated better than I. I know he's our leader but he doesn't appear to have the heart anymore to lead. Maybe 25 years ago, but not now so he needs to either brush up his leadership skills fast or step down and let someone else take control. Time is running short. Tell me where I'm wrong.
Submitted by Todd (not verified) on June 8, 2013 7:58 pm
You're not wrong anywhere. You're chillingly correct. :-(
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:24 am
I am a teacher in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia, a teacher gets to pick from available openings based on their certification areas (you might know this as a skill set). I DRIVE ALMOST TWO HOURS EACH WAY TO TEACH MY CHILDREN because I have CHOSEN to do so. I, along with all my colleagues are happy to be employed, as you might be. We work hard to educate the children in our school because we want to--it is more than a job, it is a lifestyle. I am sitting at home on a Saturday grading papers right now. I will spend tomorrow planning lessons for the next week and a half. When you, in the real world, go home, do you spend your entire night and days off planning for the days you will return to work? Do you need to print everything you will use at home because the printers at your job don't work? As for the PFT looking like slugs, do you get a cost of living raise? We don't. Do you have to provide all the supplies you will use at your office? We do. Do you pay for the materials your clients use? We do. Do you pay to photocopy materials your clients need? Do you get threatened by your clients? Do you need to protect your clients from being threatened at home or at work (school)? It is our job to do so. Do you soothe your clients when they get hurt mentally or physically? Do you listen to their strains and stresses from home? Do you even know what it takes to be a teacher? We are not complaining that our jobs are in jeopardy. Some of us are complaining because our jobs have just been eliminated. Or our colleagues' jobs have just been eliminated. And when this happens, our jobs gain MORE responsibility. We will not "just" be teaching. We will be answering phones, disciplining students during instructional time, nursing them when ill, counseling them when upset, serving them lunch, riding the bus with them, maintaining the halls, cleaning the schools, and much, much, more. If you people "in the real world" would get your head out of the clouds and realize that we people "in the educational world" don't just "get our summers off" and work "from 9-3", maybe you'd realize that we work extremely hard to prepare your children for their future.
Submitted by South Philly teacher (not verified) on June 10, 2013 10:34 am
BRAVO! -standing ovation- Well said-and so very true! Add to that the 13% pay cut that we are being asked for (that is on top of the 13% give back in benefits), as well as the possibility of the class size rule being eliminated (how would you like to teach 45 5 year olds-15 with emotional problems-alone-oh yeah, and NO COUNSELOR in the building-and no secretaries?), and the fact that when we choose to pursue our graduate education so we may become better teachers, we will not be recognized via salary increases.
Submitted by christina (not verified) on June 10, 2013 11:04 pm
i agree with your comment completely. i have been in the public school system in head start for 9 years 2 of them were substituting and 7 at a permanent position . i received my letter last saturday and wish it was a dream but instead a nightmare. some people figure oh well we can collect unemployment but if we are able to do that why cant we still be in the classroom? if we didnt want our positions working with children we would not of picked that field but we as teachers should not be taken away from those that need us and enjoy our teaching due to money not being handled correctly. on june 25th there will be a rally in Harrisburg. hopefully many will attend and we get our jobs back.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2013 7:14 pm
Are you a head start teacher??? I'm also a head start teacher with 4 years in and did not get a letter
Submitted by christina (not verified) on June 13, 2013 10:26 pm
yes i am a head start assistant teacher. i have been in the district for altogether 9 and a half years. i am from south philly..i know a couple of co workers that also recieved letters or emails today.there is a rally on the 25th and hopefully it helps us get our jobs back.working with children is something i love and enjoy.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2013 8:58 pm
You must be a teacher assistant and not a teacher. Teacher assistants with 10 years and under we're laid off. My question to you and every other HS teacher assistant is why didnt they take advantage of Head Start paying for college courses and get a degree? There's alot of HS teaching assistants who are laid off but after working in the program for so long more of you should've become teachers by now. I wish somebody was offering to pay for my courses. It always seemed to me that HS enabled former parents by giving them Teacher Asst jobs & paying them way more then their education levels dictated. Now hundreds of HS teaching assistants are facing the reality that no one is willing to pay them $30,000 a year with only a GED or high school diploma.
Submitted by Douglas (not verified) on June 16, 2013 8:19 pm
Wow. That was mean.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 16, 2013 10:20 pm
The school district did pay for many assistants to get their CDA. But I believe they have stopped doing that. My assistant was required to get CDA and I am pretty sure all of them are now required to get it. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. That being said... That was a little harsh. There is an assistant at my center who did come her CDA and has been with head start for over 10 years and was laid off
Submitted by Africa (not verified) on April 6, 2014 7:02 pm
It is really unfortunate that this keeps happening in 2014 and seeing previous cases with its consequences doesn't seem to be enough to stimulate adequate reforms.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on June 8, 2013 4:22 pm
Tymir, If I recall correctly, Dr. Hite said that the school closings would not create a need to layoff any teachers. I don't recall him saying that no teachers would be laid off period. Did his budget specify a certain number of teaching positions that would be eliminated? I'm in no way defending Hite at all. I think he's a heartless tool. EGS
Submitted by classroom cowboy (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:51 pm
News from the cesspool......Dr. Evil is crying crocodile tears as 3500 district employees wonder what will happen to them next. Hite is an accomplished artist at getting senior teachers to retire with his fear tactics. Of course, the kids are the last consideration in any of this. Laid off employees will go wherever they are sent if they are"lucky"enough to be brought back. Continuity in buildings is destroyed. Counselors secretaries and aides who have build relationships with students will be sent willy nilly to other locations. Good job Dr. Evil, and your two expensive flunky mini-me buddies.
Submitted by Mark G (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:57 pm
Dr. Hite looks more like Rupaul, who is fun-loving and sassy.
Submitted by Down the Hall (not verified) on June 9, 2013 9:50 am
More like Voldemort.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 9:41 pm
I am baffled: The School District of Philadelphia is saying there is a deficit of millions of dollars. Therefore, many employees have lost their jobs and teachers are being asked to take pay cuts. Yet, some employees working at 440 were given a pay raise, and the new CFO's salary is $50,000 more than what she was paid in her previous job. Is Dr. Hite or any of the staff in his administration taking a pay cut or being laid off? Where is the equity?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 11:59 am
The money will flow in because the charter schools and other schools districts need the money. If the SDP was alone no money would be forthcoming.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 11:49 am
This is 2013. Can't they email me my notice (or a congratulations, you're not laid off this year email) so I don't have to wait for the mail.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 11:22 am
When I was laid off 2 years ago, the notice did not come in the mail. It was handed to me by my principal at the end of the day. If you make it past the end of the school day today, you're probably ok!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:44 pm
Not this time. Letters will be mailed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 3:34 pm
Because as we all know emails can't be altered @@. I don't get why people are dying to know about their doomed status right now. Conventional wisdom says the longer you wait the better it is.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 11:43 am
10% pay cut- are they serious? Basically this is a way to get people to retire, resign, and to make way for inexperienced TFA (non union) type teachers. No PFT member should go for this.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 3:50 pm
Since when are TFA teachers, as a class, non union? Not sure why you're spreading this.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 4:58 pm
There is so much inofrmation about TFA out there (and the reformer mission to hire from unprofessional ranks) I woudn't know where to begin, so I won't. I'm not saying that TFA people who have decided to stay are necessarily non union.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 8:08 am
The organization and leadership of Teach for America (not necessarily individuals teaching in Philly schools) is a major player in the privatization / corporate "reform" of education in the U.S. TFA, Gates Fd., Broad Fd., Walton Fd. (Walmart), Students First (M. Rhea), etc. work together to dismantle public education. TFA is at the root of this effort.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:14 pm
This might interest you , I know it got my attention:
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 7:56 pm
Before you talk about inexperience...I've had more positive feedback and positive experiences from fresh TFA'ers than from experienced teachers. Many of them are open to feedback, stay later to plan their lesson, ask questions, are positive and believe in their students. They are union teachers and have made a huge impact in the district.....
Submitted by Dan Fitzsimmons (not verified) on June 7, 2013 7:21 pm
Then they leave after two years and abandon all those kids that they "cared" so much about. Non-TFA'ers do these things too, but yet it always gets overlooked.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 7, 2013 7:21 pm
Just like people in all walks of life, I've met TFA teachers who are phenomenal, some that were average, and some that were abysmal. I notice, too, that many, not all, but many, do tend to leave within two to four years of hire. As for union teachers, the same rules apply - there are the good, the bad, and the average. That's life, my friends. BUT, I know that any dedicated teacher, whether TFA or not, will stay as long as it takes, and the label of "union" or "TFA" isn't at all the matter. The matter, my friends, is that public education is under assault, and it doesn't matter who we are - parents, teachers TFA, union, charter, non-union, secretaries, principals and assistant principals - we're all in this together, and if you think that stopping to point fingers, label, and place blame are going to help, you're wrong. It's time for us to unite, regardless of where we find our roots and origins. We will either stand together, or fall together. Decide... it's time.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:12 pm
Most people do not understand that when public schools fail, we all fail. Most community members don't understand that either. Unless we do a better job of bringing them into this battle, we will lose. Every one of us.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:17 pm
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:29 pm
It's folly to think that the TFA major recriutment isn't being funded by reformers because the the fact is that it is, and there is a difference between finger pointing and pointing something out that has merit. SDP employees and charter employees are not one in the same, everyone knows that, and to keep saying that charters are public doesn't fly. We are not "in this together" when the interests are not the same.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:20 pm
Yes, we are. If charter school teachers are given the option to unionize, they do. Many have. Stop making enemies where there are none! The TEACHERS are not the enemies! Don't let the REFORMERS fool you into believing and eating BULLSHIT! Help them UNIONIZE, and add them to the ranks!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:27 pm
this is exactly what I'm talking about in terms of naivite. The proliferation of charter schools is a big part of the problem so you can scream all you want. People are not aganst you per se it's the system that's flawed which allows for the taxpayer to fund charters. The idea would be to cut off the money source thus forcing public schools to be the primary source of education again with an elected board. It used to work very well, and if someone wants to open a privately run school, go right ahead, but find the money elsewhere. As a taxpayer I don't know the mission of most of these schools, who owns them, and to whom they are accountable, and pssst I don't get my info or POV from reformers.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 7, 2013 9:57 pm
So... you just made my point. It's not the TEACHERS in the charters... they just want to make a living teaching, like everyone else. IT'S THE REFORMERS. Stop trying to hold the teachers accountable, is all I'm telling you. Olney just won a contract. Help them unionize and add to the ranks, stop demonizing. It's the SYSTEM, the REFORMERS, not the teachers.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 10:55 pm
Um I made my own point not yours. Question for you: why did you choose to work in a charter school?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 10:44 pm
Okay read this and tell me WHY you think there is a push to get TFA teachers all situated and cozy at the same time there will be so many conventional teacher layoffs? Let's be honest here, and look at the part that says "they will be serving in the neediest communities." If that doesn't beat all for PR I don't know what does.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 9:51 am
No comment Miss Katie S-L?
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 10:20 am
First of all, I'm Kate, not Katie. Sad that you feel so angry that you feel you have to direct sarcasm at me. But I digress. I didn't comment because I didn't see YOUR comment until this morning. Here is my comment... I do NOT work in a charter, I work in a very large public school in the heart of North Philadelphia. With the exception of one year in Easton, and another year at a different public school in Philadelphia, I have always worked at this school. As for TFA, I've personally known three TFA teachers: two are excellent teachers, one not so hot. Of the three, one left the district, which was no surprise; one went elsewhere, and I don't know where she is now; and the other was FORCE TRANSFERRED in a round of layoffs. That EXCELLENT teacher, who most certainly would have stayed at our school, was forced to find employment elsewhere, of course, and did so at a charter school - not a FIRST choice, not a DESIRED choice, but rather a necessary one, due to that pesky need to eat. I saw that article about that building - please note that it says 25% discount for EDUCATORS, not just TFA educators. Additionally, it is POLITICAL GAMING and CORPORATE GREED that is driving this, NOT TEACHERS. If you truly wish to win this game, as I said before, you must avoid, at all costs, the attempt to DIVIDE AND CONQUER. In other words, DON'T HATE THE PLAYA, HATE THE GAME. Your focus of attack should be the politicians and corporations that are driving privatization, not the people who find themselves entangled in the web. KATE
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:04 am
@ Kate S-L Good god you are dense as well as intractable,and FYI I'm not "angry," I'm retired from Phila. SD and living in another state/city with the SAME issues (the reform driven agenda with quasi public charter proliferation,TFA influx, and, this and that little non union program (fostered by the DOE) slowly eroding PUBLIC educaton. There is NOTHING wrong with shedding light on where this is coming from, so answer this question unless S-L stands for slow learner: With so many teachers being laid off why is the DOE preparing TFA and Americorps people to fill "'vacancies"? Damn right there's a difference in who comes from where and for what reason, and no belligerant attitude is going to convince me that I dont' know what reformers are doing. Read the Broad document that was posted. "Excellent teacher" is not for you to decide even though you're entitled to your opinion. The matter, my friends, is that public education is under assault, and it doesn't matter who we are - parents, teachers TFA, union, charter, non-union, secretaries, principals and assistant principals - we're all in this together, and if you think that stopping to point fingers, label, and place blame are going to help, you're wrong.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 12:21 pm
Wow... so now you resort to name-calling? I attributed the sarcasm to anger, but maybe that's too strong a word - maybe you're being sarcastic and calling names because you're frustrated? Again, as I said before, the matter is that public education is under assault, as you copied and pasted into your reply. And yes, we should educate everyone, AND shed light on the influx of charters and the corporate-driven agenda of privatization. As we do that, we need everyone to be united, and so pointing at the charter school and TFA teachers is rather counterproductive. As for the excellence of the teacher, yes, that is my opinion, which I based on a number of things. I could well be wrong, too. However, that's not what was really important to me - what mattered most were the conversations we had, in which that teacher came to the realization that it is wholly necessary to FIGHT THE CORPORATE AGENDA TO PRIVATIZE PUBLIC EDUCATION. So, in the final analysis, we agree. Yes, shed light on the false hope offered by charter schools, and on the political, corporate-driven agenda of privatization of organizations of the TFA. The only thing I took issue with is pointing fingers at the teachers themselves. If that makes me dense and intractable in your opinion, so be it. No need to reply to this, because I can see that we do agree, even if you can't, and while I don't really care one way or another if I am called names, I don't care to engage in conversation with someone who engages in that behavior, because it's unproductive. Kate S-L
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 12:07 pm
". Yes, shed light on the false hope offered by charter schools, and on the political, corporate-driven agenda of privatization of organizations of the TFA." It is not the "false hope" that is at issue IMO it's the structure of charters whereby public taxpayers are paying for these basically private, mis named " "non profits". The notion that charter schools and public schools are "in this fight together" is one of the biggest myths around and I cannot fathom how you claim to understand the reform movement yet buy into that notion. It's a fact siphon off money that could be going to public schools (not to speak of grabbing students) so excuse those of us who want to be united with traditonal pubilc schools.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 1:20 pm
Thank you for replying civilly. I do not say that CHARTERS are in the fight with us. Charter schools, along with their CORPORATE and POLITICAL promotors, are indeed a problem. They are not evaluated fairly, they are taking public school monies and the best of our students, and leaving public schools to suffer. You are absolutely correct in that. What I said is that the TEACHERS are in the fight with us. We need their numbers. Most often, they are former public school teachers who are laid off and then hired at charters because their desperate for money. They hold the same ideals, but they're forced to "dance with the devil." They know that the charters and their structure are decimating public education, and I know this because they show up and fight against it, under cover, even though they're in the charters. If we help them unionize, they can continue to fight with us, without fear of reprisal. I'm NOT talking about uniting with CHARTERS. I'm talking about uniting with TEACHERS.
Submitted by linda (not verified) on June 9, 2013 8:08 am
Glad you are retired...your stress level in this posting place is not good for you or any help with the situation with the SDP
Submitted by linda (not verified) on June 9, 2013 8:56 am
Liked the way you responded to the sour remarks by the "retiree who lives in another state"......I think that most folks with half a grain of sense are able to see who and what an EXCELLENT teacher looks like and you have every right to state your is for you to say.. Doesn't the SDP have mentoring of teachers by teachers who are excellent and know what excellence looks like?.....aren't student teachers observed by teachers to determine what excellence looks like? or is excellence only to be defined by school administrators? hang in there Linda K.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 9, 2013 9:51 am
Thanks, Linda K.! =))
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 9, 2013 10:36 am
Sour remarks? it'd behoove you to sit back and read what retirees have to say because we have some experience. Have you seen the remarks describing how many veteran teachers have been let go and not fought for by the union? In many cases they CAN be excellent teachers (according to their peers) but for some reason they've been targeted by administration. How about an excellent teacher who has been thrown into the PAR program and rated by an incompetant who along with the principal gets her the boot? I'm happy for you that you consider yourself "safe," but so did these other people. These remarks are meant to be constructive (or instructive) not sour, bitter or anything of the like because yano it's hard to be bitter watching from my jammies on a weekday.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 9, 2013 10:28 am
Yes, as a past building rep and current building committee member I have worked with and represented fellow teachers who let themselves get bamboozled by administrators ... How? They simply got caught up in the reaction game. Let the administrator know you are tired, irate, settled, etc and you are prime for the 204 memo. Do your job, stand tall, do not react to the taunts [just as we have to do from time to time with kids] and then pick and choose YOUR battles. I literally have had to pull coworkers out of the hall and the Principal/VP's office in that they thought they could go in yelling...tossing papers.....cursing.....making crazy statements that all could be thrown back in their faces.... I have had co workers get written up for lesson plans that were not detailed enough when all that needed to be done was refer to the contract and what is REQUIRED vs. what an administrator desired. One coworker was cited for the overabundance of decoration in the classroom during instruction....never mind the fact she was a push teacher for sp.ed and it was not her classroom but the room where she was sent to teach!!! So please, trust and believe I get it. I also get that you and every other certified teacher get to have an opinion as to who and what makes an excellent teacher. Surely you can agree to this. Half the battle is in lack of knowledge. Do we know our subject? Great. Can we articulate without the ire?......Do we fall for the okey doke and get in battles of words?.....some of us do and then it is bammo......out comes the paperwork...... I am older than you think...closer to retirement than you would believe, however, just as students tune out speakers on podiums so are remarks on the NOTEBOOK...... I clearly hear that you are angry [ rightfully so...] and that you have some issues not resolved even though you are retired from the SDP.....we need your help and encouragement so as to continue the battle....words of wisdom are a must......constant put downs only get you so far and then no further Linda K and safe for now in the SDP
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 9, 2013 11:49 am
Thank you, Linda K, for your insightful remarks and your support! Best of luck to you as we prepare for battle... Kate S-L
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 9, 2013 12:50 pm
"clearly hear that you are angry [ rightfully so...] and that you have some issues not resolved even though you are retired from the SDP....." >Linda The issues I speak of are not (were not) about me thankfully, and most of the building reps I knew didn't talk about their colleauges as if they were the problem. Although people do react angrily and inappropriately at times I'm not talking about being "bamboozled," I'm talking about a pattern of harrassment against employees which the union decided not to defend. I personally don't think the PFT is beyond collusion to downsize this District, and by all means feel free to discount my comments. I'll be sure to let those who were given the boot while the union looked the other way that they should've "picked their battles." Good luck>
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:17 am
The problem is, Kate, that charter carpetbaggers often target any of their teachers that merely attend a union meeting, let alone one that tries to organize their schools. They will be given bad evaluations and dismissed even before the year is over. That is why charters so often want teachers who have been fired from the public school system . . . they are desperate for work and will be willing to kowtow to the big boss' bidding.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 2:40 pm
Your absolutely correct, and that's why it's best done under cover. The ASCE isn't ALWAYS successful, but sometimes they are. They're working to unionize charters, and they won't stop!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 3:25 pm
It's amusing to see how quickly you change tune. Someobdy posts the antithesis of wher you're sayinig and you then say "I agree." This has occured a few times now and my antennae tell me that something is wrong here.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 10:13 pm
That's nice...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 10:09 pm
Honestly one has to write in CAPS for this woman- we don't want more charters whether the teachers are unionized or not because they are part of the master plan of taking OUR kids until we don't exist any more. do you really think that weak unions in charters are going to be effective GIVEN THAT the charter system is a big part of the problem? Okay have it your way and have the charter ppl go to Harrisburg with you and hold up signs of solidarity- the purpose of which baffles me because after this year BAM more charter expansion. SMH.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:32 pm
So, what is YOUR solution? What are YOU doing, effective or not, to fight the expansion of charter schools? BTW, I never said I wanted more charters. It seems to me that you're spoiling for a fight, whether it be with me, TFA teachers, whomever. Yep, you're right, more charter school expansion - don't you think your energy would be better spent fighting it than arguing with me? Especially since you seem to think I'm dense. I don't understand why you're anonymously wasting your time trying to educate me... =)
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:59 pm
"they are desperate for work and will be willing to kowtow to the big boss' bidding." >anon That is why they're there, many of them have committments to charter education and philosphy, and unionizing there won't make a bit of difference
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:42 pm
Maybe not... but nothing beats a failure but a try.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:00 am
If I were only planning on teaching two years I'm sure I could be more "open to feedback, stay later, etc." TFA are not union teachers. They are cut and run artists who do the minimum required amount of teaching before either running for an administration position or leaving the field all together. Michelle Rhee is a perfect example of one. She was abysmal as a teacher, but thinks she's worthy of judging real teachers. I guess if you only have five weeks of teacher training then you would be "open to feedback".
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 12:31 pm
There are far too many "run by" teachers. TFA perpetuates the two years and out model. Far too many inexperienced TFA are in graduate schools (Penn in particular) ready to tell teachers what to do. (Many do this as their graduate assistant job. They are rating new teachers - often more TFA.) Others quickly jump to administrators - even if they suck in the classroom. Then we get them as principals and they will pound on a career teachers yet they can't do the job. This is all part of the privatization / de-professionalism of teaching agenda of Student First, TFA, Broad Rd., Walton Fd., Gates Fd., Nutter, SRC, Corbett and, last but not least, Philadelphia School Partnership - the death sentence of public education.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 12:22 pm
Michelle Rhee is facing a big fat lawsuit of her own (as well she should) and edcuation activists are tuned into this. NOT fair to let the Atlanta people to take the heat for the same thing she's done and worse. She fired hundreds of teachers on a whim with no due process or proper guidelines. It's time to come out from behind the skirts of the DOE Michelle,
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 9, 2013 1:53 pm
Point of clarification: Nearly all TFA teachers placed in the District join the PFT. All TFA does is find the teachers. SDP hires them--once they are in the schools, their employment/contract/union status is the same as any other teacher. It may be a way to clear space for younger teachers (that's a separate argument), but TFA-placed teachers are union members.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on June 10, 2013 4:02 pm
Anonymous, My understanding is that TFA members typically have to join the local teacher's union, if there is one. The biggest problem with TFA is that it employs the wrong solution to the problem of educational inequity. In other words, TFA's entire premise for existence is deeply flawed. TFA says that educational inequity is our nation's greatest injustice. Fair enough. However, this injustice doesn't begin with teachers. Rather, the injustice begins with the conditions that make teaching (unnecessarily) difficult and burdensome. Educational inequity is fundamentally an issue of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Those with more receive more and those with less receive less. Well-funded districts with middle class and affluent residents can provide teachers with competitive compensation and benefits, good working conditions (enough supplies, modern or modernized buildings, sufficient support staff and support professionals), and the students are more likely to come from stable families with sufficient money and parents who are educated and/or value education. Poorer districts have needier students and the teachers, principals, and other staff are asked to do more for these students with fewer resources than more affluent districts. This is all well-known to most people who read this site, so I won't elaborate further. In theory, it's not hard to change the system in order to be more equitable. The state collects most of the property taxes and distributes them equally or according to need (equitably). But this means that more affluent districts would receive less than they currently receive, making equitable funding a tough sell for many middle-class and affluent folks. It means that the children of those who can afford the nice house in the nice city/town wouldn't get the best education. Rather, every child would receive a good education, regardless of where the child lives. It's easy to talk about equity, but when it involves taking money from one's children to give to needier children, it doesn't go over well. The affluent parents start blaming the victim---blaming the people in the poor districts like Philadelphia and Chester for their predicament. Blame the single mothers, blame the parenting, blame the street culture, blame the district's poor management. Blame the victim to make them undeserving of more money. Again, this is all well-known to most people who read this site, so I won't preach further. The bottom line is that if TFA really wanted to make a difference, the would advocate for at the very least equal funding and ideally for equitable funding for all children. Equal per-pupil funding sounds really good, doesn't it? Philadelphia, Lower Merion, Neshaminy, Chester, and Penn-Delco all receive the same amount of money per-pupil. The state collects the property taxes and distributes according to need. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Rich people don't like this. The Wendy Kopps, Scott Gordons, Eli Broads, and Bill Gateses of the world don't like this because it means they have to pay more. Equitable funding is "socialism." Equitable funding usurps local control. But, equitable funding is the solution. Anything else is either a band-aid or counterproductive. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 11:02 am
"Thank goodness we have such a strong union leader in Jerry Jordan!" We do?
Submitted by Tymir (not verified) on June 7, 2013 11:15 am
Ha ha. That was a MAJOR SARCASM.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:06 pm
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 12:44 pm
When my union "mysteriously" elects Jerry Jordan to another term without me even knowing there was going to be an election then it's not my union. I have showed up for meetings only to hear the same old, tired spiel from the career unionist. When I try to get the union to intervene in specific contract violations it's an endless paraden of excusemaking on the part of the PFT. They will come in if you're going to be fired or disciplined then they will come in as they stand to lose your union dues. Real unions don't act that way. I have enough relatives that have taught elsewhere to know what a teachers' union is suppose to do for their members. We aren't going to Harrisburg, but to 440 in Sept. and staying there until the SRC, Nutter, etc. listen to the teachers, not the PFT. Let's see Nutter open the schools without the teachers. Want to fill the city with TFA lackeys, go ahead. I give you a month at the most before parents raise an uproar. Just remember Vallas and New Orleans.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 12:39 pm
I agree with you, I agree with you, I agree with you. At the last general membership meeting, I asked Jerry Jordan if the PFT would take legal action against the SRC for putting the SDP $700m in the hole. I also asked, as I did at another general membership meeting, whether or not we are going to strike. I also reminded the membership that 1) going on strike is not a legal issue, it's a RIGHT, and 2) no one is obligated to follow an unjust law. At the last membership meeting, Jerry Jordan said, "the membership must decide." And we must. I'm going to Harrisburg, because I want those politicians to hear and to know. BUT, I will gladly, gladly join you in front of 440 in September, because absolutely, Let's see them open schools without teachers. I just hope that our colleagues will be there, in force, with you and me! THAT is why I say it ain't Jerry... WE ARE THE UNION! See you in September!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 12:36 pm
I also reminded the membership that 1) going on strike is not a legal issue, it's a RIGHT, and 2) no one is obligated to follow an unjust law.> Kate I'm not understanding you- you reminded the membership? FYI this is not accurate.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 8, 2013 4:38 pm
What is not accurate? A strike is always an option, not something that must be legally granted. If you're not being treated fairly at your job and conditions are unjust, you don't have to show up and be treated unjustly. If the membership, as a whole, understands this, they wouldn't be afraid, as a whole, to strike, regardless of what "the law" says. Further, no one is obliged to follow an unjust law - there were laws against so-called miscegenation, there were segregation laws - just because they were laws didn't make them morally right, and they did not have to be followed because they were immoral and unjust. If members keep those two things in mind, then a unified action is possible.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 12, 2013 6:59 pm
If the contract lapses on August 8/31 and a new deal is not in place can we strike?
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 12, 2013 10:54 pm
What do you think? Read "Civil Disobedience" and "Letters from a Birmingham Jail."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2013 4:05 pm
This something the membership discusses with their union. Kate S_L may need to be reminded that we usually don't do this during contract negotiations for obvious reasons although its remains an option.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2013 4:34 pm
The membership votes on whether to authorize a strike or not.There is always a big union meeting anyway to ratify the contract (although it doesn't always turn out the way we want.). Good that the state budget comes out before our contract ends, it lets us know where we stand and Hite and the SRC shoud be making decsisions with the PFT after that and not unilaterally
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 12:10 pm
Worse than that they take your case if a principal recommends you for termination then leave you to hang out to dry. Check your local unemployment office and note the number of veteran teachers there signing up. Something is defintely not right here and is another reason you'sll see more retirements and resignations.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 13, 2013 4:40 pm
Vigilante alert.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 11:44 am
Principals were told that the notices have already been mailed. It will come to your home this time.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:14 pm
Do we know when the notices were mailed so we can figure out when to expect them to arrive?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:55 pm
So no one really knows. The 3,000 number is low to what I've heard. My building rep was at a meeting on Wednesday and heard 6,000 total from all parts of the District. Can't see how this will work. Sadly the PFT has done a poor job of explaining its positions to the public on these cuts. You need people to understand how these cuts affect them, their children, their neighborhoods, and the city as a whole, not the PFT. The same goes with the SDP, but I actually think they don't care about their actual mission anymore. I mean, how about explaining that without music and art the test scores will go down, or without sports the male dropout rate will probably increase which means the graduation rate will go down. If more people drop out/don't graduate, it is likely that crime will go up. I mean, this isn't hard to figure out, but how/why you frame it is, and sadly none of the people who should be framing it this way are.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:03 pm
I'm not trying to point my finger at you or call you out, but did YOU explain any of this to any of the parents? If you did, thanks, and kudos to you. But, if you didn't, and you waited and relied on "the PFT" to do so, you forgot that YOU ARE THE PFT! Each one must teach one! We all have the obligation to ourselves to tell AT LEAST ONE PARENT what's really going on. If we don't, we have no one to blame but the one we look at in the mirror. Again, not pointing fingers, but calling each one of you, my hardworking and persevering colleagues, to be the voice, the candle in the wind!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:10 pm
These kids deserve bette than this. Even on my roughest, most horrible day as a teacher I still care for them and want the best for my students and we are giving them the worst possible outlook on the future of their education.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:41 pm
Thank you a million times for your service! Please come meet me in Harrisburg! Please! Whatever you might be doing on 6/25, put it aside and come shake my hand and stand with me, for the sake of our kids!
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:06 pm
"Politics for the Poor," as Marie Antonette used to say sarcastically and scornfully. We know how that turned out. Hite has NO credibility. We ALL know what's needed here. Jerry, Any thoughts????
Submitted by Jerry Jordan Gibb (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:33 pm
No... No, I don't.!watch/243601
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 4:08 pm
See you on the front page OP.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:24 pm
Or as Elizabeth Cady Stanton once screamed, "God is good, yes, SHE is."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:49 pm
Who's been smoking something saying 6,000 layoffs. That would be at least a 25% staffing cut. The postage alone would make the deficit go from $304 million to $305 million. Alot of those laid off will be back in September. I wonder how much the SDP is saving from only paying Unemployment vs salaries and benefits for the summer months?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:08 pm
10 month employees - the vast majority - do not get paid over the summer. (They get money the District has taken out of their pay check all year.)
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on June 7, 2013 4:16 pm
You're wrong. The lay off notice itself is the ticket to unemployment.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 7:36 pm
I was laid off two summers ago and got unemployment. The money we get over the summer, is previously earned money. We are still eligible for unemployment.
Submitted by Home Educator Mom (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:28 pm
Thank God I homeschool, and always have!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:23 pm
Is that a helpful, kind, thoughtful, compassionate, or considerate comment? Does that comment advance the discussion? Does that comment help people understand the issue? If you were a hard-working and dedicated professional who was just laid off, how would that comment make you feel?
Submitted by Home Educator Mom (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:12 pm
It means that God is taking care of those who care for themselves. These people don't care about themselves. Gov. Corbett has balanced the budget and I'm tired of paying for other people's rude kids when my own are being taught how to behave properly and serve the Lord.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:01 pm
LOL. Here we go with "serving the Lord." That is all homeschooling is about. Creating little Christian soldiers to lie about Evolution and science.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:04 pm
Scary is as scary does. Leave Religion and Patriotism out of this and follow the MONEY!!!! "You are what you do not what you say you do," Thomas Aquinas or was it Thomas Paine ??
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 10:19 pm
I think it was Carl Jung.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on June 9, 2013 8:22 am
You may be right--Thank You.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 4:09 pm
I (too?) am a Christian. I believe that I am "serving the Lord" every day when I get to teach and love these students. Yes, they sometimes behave very badly. I suspect your children would behave similarly if they grew up in a similar context with the same kinds of obstacles. Many of my students are so hurt and angry about the things that have happened in their lives that they don't even know the depth of their own pain. To get the opportunity to be a force for change, maybe even healing, is so Biblical, it's ridiculous. Please stop trolling boards so that you can display your racism, false sense of accomplishment and entitlement, and religiosity. The Lord you speak of saw how we all "don't care about ourselves," and reached down and loved us anyway. Amazing grace!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 7:27 pm
Very well said, thank you.
Submitted by K.R. Luebbert on June 8, 2013 9:29 am
Thank you, many of us in public schools also believe we are called to be there and teach the students we serve every day.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 5:49 pm
Really? What ever happened to charity and kindness? Does your God teach you about that? Yes some of the kids are rude but being rude doesn't mean they deserve an inferior education. Btw my tax dollars are paying for your kids to be homeschooled. Isn't democracy wonderful? You get to pay for rude undeserving Philly kids and I get to pay for your homeschooled kids that probably are going to use up more of my tax dollars to conquer social phobia issues once they're forced to operate in the real world. Get a clue.
Submitted by Kate S-L (not verified) on June 7, 2013 8:34 pm
It's so sad that you don't understand that you're linked to us... I hope you wake up one day and realize it. Micah 6:8 and Matthew 25:31-46, humbly submitted for your consideration...
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 9, 2013 11:50 am
I too do not like rude, non God fearing children, but I also know that everyone can not grow up at my house or way or the other all of our lives touch in some degree and I would like to know that the person at my future nursing home can read, administer my meds, and won't abuse me......we must provide education for all of those who are not able to attend private school or homeschool Linda K.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 9, 2013 7:05 pm
Hear, Hear. My thinking exactly.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on June 10, 2013 6:41 am
Home Educator Mom, You are fortunate to be able to homeschool. Most parents don't have the luxury of being able to homeschool their students because they have to work outside of the home. EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 10, 2013 2:23 pm
Home Educator Mom: Your analysis of whom God takes care of is not based on the Christian Bible. A deeper reading of the text would reveal that God (who came to Earth as Jesus, according to Christian belief) took care of the people who were unable to take care of themselves. The premise of your argument is inaccurate and your conclusion therefore invalid. Please do a deeper reading to acquire a deeper understanding of the texts you purport to teach. I do not appreciate your inaccurate representation of what our Lord has taught.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:35 pm
Notices are mailed and should be received by June 10
Submitted by Mark G (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:22 pm
I'ma say I ain't receive the letter. Now!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:47 pm
“If we only had more money....if we only had more money.” That has been the mantra of the School District of Philadelphia for the last 30 years. Throwing more money at this broken, dreadful, ruined school system isn't going to improve a thing. It will just continue the mediocrity and dismal performance until they run out of money again. Until the politically correct meddlers, crony politicians, and greedy privateers are removed from the equation, and common-sense and responsible policies are put into place, without constant exceptions to the rules, the system is lost. Frankly, I don't think it can ever be fixed.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:21 pm
The SRC recently voted to approve a resolution to spend $15 million to fund cyber schools in the SDP. Never mind that the program doesn't actually exist. The SRC recently voted to approve a resolution to spend $1.8 million to hire another outside law firm. The SRC, in its last meeting, voted to approve a resolution to spend $3 million for moving costs due to school closures (not the full expenditure for this). It is time for them to stop repeating the lie that the district has no money. As Helen has said, these SRC votes represent choices. Lisa Haver
Submitted by Eileen DiFranco (not verified) on June 7, 2013 5:17 pm
The top public schools in the State of Pa. are located in Philadelphia: Central, Girls' High, Masterman, Engineering and Science. There are many other great schools that turn out excellent students. I believe Inquirer reporter Krsten Graham graduated from Northeast High. What happens is that these schools skim off the top kids. Another group of academically talented kids attend private and parochial schools. So, if you are looking at a bell curve, the entire right side is gone.the average and below average kids attend the comprehensive high schools - for the most part. In many cases, the poorest of the poor are concentrated in these schools. If you watched the "Nightline" special, you might be able to appreciate what I mean. While there are those who would glibly dismiss poverty as a factor in poor educational outcomes, those of us who work in the schools see the hard reality of poverty first hand, a poverty that even the best teachers cannot erase. Charity and clarity is needed when we talk about "poor performance."
Submitted by Education Grad ... on June 8, 2013 4:22 pm
Eileen, You are exactly right. I would also add that many charter schools skim off children who may be average or below average, but have parents who value education and are involved in/care about their child(ren)'s education(s). In addition, the "best" charter schools are located disproportionately in Roxborough/Manayunk, South Philly, Center City, and the Far Northeast. Thus, there is further inequity in that children in more affluent portions of the city have easier access, geographically, to the highest quality charter schools, including the schools that use inquiry-based instruction and have offerings in the arts. EGS
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on June 8, 2013 8:45 pm
girls is not even close to being a top school. They have terrible test scores.
Submitted by tom-104 on June 7, 2013 6:50 pm
The state has been running (ruining) it for ten years. 12% of the School District budget goes to paying off loans to banks to cover their mismanagement and line the pockets of their wealthy friends.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 12:20 pm
Does anybody know how many classroom teachers are being cut, if any?
Submitted by Helen (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:12 pm
39 classroom teachers.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:41 pm
How did you get this number?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:18 pm
Where did this number come from?
Submitted by Helen (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:08 pm
I made it up. Because that's how rumors work. People lie. So just sit back and wait for evidence rather than worrying your life away. DON'T LISTEN to anyone's nonsense. Wait until you see something for yourself.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 4:17 pm
Helen, I am worried! And, rightfully so. Teachers were not supposed to be part of the layoffs. Now, they are. We have believed time after time the lies thrown to us from the district. This is bad! Why waste the money on postage when the district is BROKE? Where is our fearless leader, Jerry Jordan!
Submitted by Helen (not verified) on June 7, 2013 4:55 pm
Please forgive the bluntness, but why would you believe ANYTHING the district would say? If they say "wet," then you should think, "dry." Jerry Jordon is not fearless at all. He talks, but just a little. He sure doesn't inform PFT members or the public of anything we should know. He seems to be sitting back and hoping that things will just change for the better so he can retain his position of "leader." You're right - teachers were not supposed to be part of layoffs AT ALL. So it has been confirmed that Hite is a liar, along with Nutter and the rest. I hope that everyone gets their jobs back and that the SRC and politicians stop lying about the fact that there is no money to educate our children and properly compensate our school workers. I've been at the rallies. Have you?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 4:58 pm
The union said from the beginning not to believe that lie.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 7:12 pm
Schools are closing...that means EVERYONE with a job at a school can be let go........Any teacher who thought NO teacher would be touched is not a thinking. Where does one send a teacher/admin/support staff when there are buildings that are literally half full? Off to the next building unless there are people already there doing the same job. I left my old school after seeing the handwriting on the wall. Why can not others do the same?
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on June 8, 2013 7:49 pm
I believe you meant fearful, not fearless. At the moment, Jerry is just shocked, I tell you, just shocked !!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 6:40 pm
The update above says "In total, 3,783 District employees will be laid off, a number that includes 676 teachers, 307 secretaries, 283 counselors, 127 assistant principals, 1202 noontime aides, and 769 supportive services assistants."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:21 pm
Does anyone know if the layoff notices include secretaries. How can they run the schools without secretaries? I know that the school I work out will not function very well next year if they get rid of both of our secretaries. They run the school, not the principal!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:19 pm
The buzz is secretaries are going to be contracted out.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:24 pm
After you, I don't know how other classroom teachers are being cut.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:17 pm
Secretaries, when you leave the schools on layoffs, don't forget to show your principal how to approve disbursements and payroll using their passwords.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 11:14 am
LOL show them nothing, and,second rule of thumb never train anyone else for your position- EVER. If anything resembling this horror comes to pass and I seriously doubt it, these principals are going ot be on their own and up the proverbial creek.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:52 pm
Human Resources ordered 6000 envelopes for layoffs. Don't believe the news about 3000.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:03 pm
Is there any way to find out for certain if you are being laid off? Wouldn't the principal have any information on this? Why is money being wasted on postage when the district is in dire straits?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 8, 2013 1:14 pm
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! 440's Fifth columnist.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:18 pm
I'll bet the secretarial duties will be dumped on the teachers. We do too much secretarial work as is, stuffing and mailing envelopes, etc. Don't be fooled by Hite. He wants us to take a pay cut, then load us with more non-teaching responsibilites. Jerry, don't sell us down the river the way Ted Kirsch did.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:07 pm
What this does is set up a scenario where ALL the lay off persons SHOULD sign up for Unemployment. They'll end up making more money not less overall since they'll all be rehired anyway UNLESS Jerry blinks or is complicit in this nonsense. Time will tell. It's TIME to fight back folks.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:24 pm
Are layoffs based on seniority within area of appointment or is it simply based in system start date as before?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:27 pm
We need answers now!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 2:07 pm
Principals know. Some principals have told staff.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 7:20 pm
they were not told about teachers....SSA's and support staff were informed and the principals were as well
Submitted by Education Grad ... on June 10, 2013 9:55 pm
My principal didn't know about the status of paraprofessionals today. So maybe some principals knew and others didn't, or...? EGS
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:51 pm
If HR ordered 6,000 then they are wasting money on envelopes. Stop scaring people. 6,000 people with total costs of AT LEAST (extremely low) $50,000 per person, per year would be way, way, way over $300 million. Do the math. Then shut up.
Submitted by Mark G (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:34 pm
Actually, it would be exactly $300 million. 50,000 X 6000 = 300,000,000. Just sayin'.
Submitted by Joe (not verified) on June 7, 2013 1:58 pm
Exactly---PHONY is as phony does. Crappola !!

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